Municipality discusses new transport initiatives, one-ticket system

Commuting to the city center from the suburbs sometimes seems like a real expedition — for those living in the city center, as well as those living in the outlying districts.

Commuters need one ticket for the train, a second ticket for the bus and a third ticket for the tram. And transfer tickets do not make things any easier, as they are not recognized by all means of  public transport.

This is a daily problem faced by many residents of the Malopolska region.
The Municipality of Krakow, however, has recently come up with an idea, which, if properly executed, may enable the average ?Kowalski? from the suburbs to commute to the city center without the hassle of having to buy a wallet?s worth of tickets.

Thanks to the initiative of Deputy Mayor of Krakow Wieslaw Starowicz, the Municipality recently held a series of meetings to discuss the possibility of integrating rural transportation systems with Krakow?s.

At a key meeting, Starowicz made an effort to persuade his rural colleagues, representatives from the Board of Public Transport, the Malopolskie Voivodeship, the Polish State Railways Regional Services (PKP), MPK S.A. (Municipal Transport Company Ltd.), and private carriers, to support his proposal.

?I told the officials that it?s the 21st Century and we?re supposed to be a modern city — or maybe even a metropolis — and our residents expect us to work to make their lives easier,? Starowicz said. ?This is only possible if we introduce shared services, responsibilities and a one-ticket system valid for all means of transport. We need to integrate our road and railway networks, and coordinate our transport systems with MPK and private carriers. We need to compound Krakow?s transport system with those of neighboring communities.?

At a recent meeting at the mayor?s office, local officials resolved to withdraw zone tickets from use, and to introduce a one-ticket system. The ticket will enable passengers to travel by train, bus, tram or even private bus at the same time.
Although everyone seems satisfied with the initiative, and many participants at the meeting said that it was the first time that Krakow had taken the step to treat other communities like partners, Starowicz is cautious about celebrating any progress too early.

?For me, this meeting does not prove anything yet. It only shows that there is a will to do something about the issue,? Starowicz said. ?Once we get down to the details, though, the will might not translate into concrete action. Krakow may put forward the initiative, but this does not mean that it can afford to bear all the costs. That?s why I am afraid things may look different once we start talking about money. As far as the finances are concerned, I promised the rural authorities with whom MPK has signed contracts that the initial cost is equal to what they are paying now. If the carrier changes, then we?ll negotiate.?

There are many possible directions in which Krakow?s initiative can develop.
Mass media has published little regarding this issue. Following meetings will discuss passenger discounts and define the financial aspects of the project.
Krakow?s city card, which will be introduced later this year, should prove helpful, as it will provide important data on the number of commuters using the municipal transport system.

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